Are You a Great Coach?

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Are You a Great Coach?

The Idea: There is an expression attributed to the prominent writer Anaïs Nin: “We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.” Our preconceptions alter both the way we see the world and ourselves. After 30 years of leading teams, training, and consulting, I recently chose to work with a clinician to diversify my own coaching repertoire. This experience has given me a fresh outlook and has expanded and refined my coaching philosophy. It’s a courageous step to work with a performance advisor. We are all a work in progress and if you are serious about your own development, I encourage you to trust and invite a coach into your life. 

Today’s leaders are confronting more cynicism, volatility, unpredictability, and skepticism than ever before. Most employees are experiencing stress levels that are off the charts; there is a lack of direction and the majority are looking for a new job. But unless you look deep within yourself, the same issues will reoccur elsewhere. 

The most effective leaders embrace holistic, big-picture thinking; they love execution, manage strong relationships, and possess high attention to detail. This diverse set of skills becomes refined when one commits to collaborating with others who challenge one’s thinking while offering candid coaching insights.

Let’s be honest: you can’t do it alone and no one person has all the answers. 

An individual’s communication patterns are the most important predictor of success and the key to performance lies not in the content of discussions, but in one’s communication style. Communication styles are as significant as intelligence, personality, skill, and the quality of discussions — combined.

The world run by “command-and-control” leaders is obsolete. Thriving teams are now run by situational leaders: those driven by practiced values that adapt to the needs of their associates. They are flexible and speak “to” not “at” those surrounding them; understanding there’s a time for directing and a time for asking questions. Today’s highest performers are open to being coached and are committed to their own self-development plans.

Most people overestimate their coaching skills. Today’s winning leaders are skilled at asking thought provoking questions instead of offering quick answers. They invite honest feedback instead of shutting down personal critique. Today’s top leaders are coaches and facilitators, not demanding dictators.

In a fast-paced digital world, it seems we’ve forgotten that trusting coaching relationships birth healthy, high-performing teams. Today’s best leaders are “advocates for courage,” advising others to answer their own questions, practice healthy conversations and are not afraid of difficult decisions. They possess adaptability, consistency, and poise under pressure. 

  • What’s hindering your coaching philosophy and what’s at risk if not resolved?
  • What strengths do you overplay and how does this affect your team?
  • What are your biggest fears as a leader and what’s the root of this?

My personal coaching philosophy has shifted over the years, from a teaching and training ideology to one of helping others quickly rebound after a setback. My philosophy has always included a deep understanding of the industry, customer insights and engagement practices. But my special formula is the questions I now ask. My coaching practice is immersive, personalized, and grounded in questions, with the end goal being to help others replicate success.

What have I learned? 

I used to believe everyone was coachable and wanted to change. I now know that few are courageous enough to work with a coach. It takes vulnerability to work with a partner to advance your game and that can be very scary for many. Working with a coach is not for the weak; it’s for the committed. 

Healthy leadership begins with one’s ability to take responsibility for their behavior. The healthiest people I know work with a specialist to elevate their game and are committed to this. 

Who is offering you honest coaching and on-going counsel?

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